DirecTV is in a great deal of flux in relation to who’s going to own it going forward, with an auction taking place over the last several months to determine who will purchase a stake of the satellite service from AT&T.
Sunday Ticket is the NFL’s out-of-market game package, in which fans can pay extra money to gain access to all NFL games, and not only the ones that are televised locally in their own market.
Since Sunday Ticket launched in 1994, it’s been exclusive to DirecTV, and as served as a major selling point, both for individuals and for bars and restaurants, to subscribe to DirecTV. Jon Taffer, the future host of the reality show “Bar Rescue,” has been credited with inventing the idea of DirecTV, when he was running a bar in Chicago back in the early 1990s.
It’s widely believed that DirecTV’s current exclusive contract with the NFL expires after the 2022 season, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has indicated that he would like to see a change in how Sunday Ticket works.
Now, a new report indicates that a favorite has emerged for the package.
According to Streaming Media Blog, Amazon has emerged as the leader to become the new Sunday Ticket host, although talks remain early.
“It’s well known that the current NFL deal with DIRECTV (AT&T), which runs through the 2022 season, will not be renewed. This makes sense since AT&T is trying to sell off the DIRECTV business and I’m told the NFL no longer wants the restrictions that come from distributing the package via satellite, which is completely outdated, as is the current streaming experience,” the report said. “Multiple people I spoke with said that while talks are still in the early stages, Amazon looks to be in the lead for the new digital direct-to-consumer offering of what is currently branded NFL Sunday Ticket.”
Amazon is already in business with the NFL, with a deal to stream Thursday night games, and also had an exclusive deal to stream one NFL game that was not available anywhere else. Amazon is also available in much of the world, which is also important to the NFL.
The story went on to argue that most of the other companies mentioned as potential partners would make less sense than Amazon does. A Sports Business Daily report last year indicated that interested suitors for Sunday Ticket included Amazon, ESPN, Comcast, and the sports streaming service DAZN.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.